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A Stranger in the House
Cover of A Stranger in the House
A Stranger in the House
A Novel
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Look out for Shari Lapena's new thriller, AN UNWANTED GUEST, available soon."Smart and suspenseful. . . you'll never see the ending coming." —PureWowIn this neighborhood, danger lies close to...
Look out for Shari Lapena's new thriller, AN UNWANTED GUEST, available soon."Smart and suspenseful. . . you'll never see the ending coming." —PureWowIn this neighborhood, danger lies close to...
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  • Look out for Shari Lapena's new thriller, AN UNWANTED GUEST, available soon.

    "Smart and suspenseful. . . you'll never see the ending coming." —PureWow
    In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A domestic thriller packed full of secrets, and a twisty story that never stops—from the bestselling author of The Couple Next Door

    He looks at her, concerned. "How do you feel?" She wants to say,
    Terrified. Instead, she says, with a faint smile, "Glad to be home."

    Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they've got a lovely home in upstate New York, they're practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car's gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.
    There's a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.
    The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she's mostly okay—except that she can't remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.
    Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something's been moved. Something's not quite right. Someone's been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.
    Because in this house, everyone's a stranger. Everyone has something they'd rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

Excerpts-

  • From the book Chapter One

    On this hot August night, Tom Krupp parks his car–a leased Lexus–in the driveway of his handsome two-story home. The house, complete with a two-car garage, is set behind a generous lawn and framed with beautiful old trees. To the right of the driveway, a flagstone path crosses in front of the porch, with steps leading up to a solid wooden door in the middle of the house. To the right of the front door is a large picture window the width of the living room.

    The house sits on a gently curving street that ends in a cul-de-sac. The surrounding houses are all equally attractive and well maintained, and relatively similar. People who live here are successful and settled; everyone's a little bit smug.

    This quiet, prosperous suburb in upstate New York, populated with mostly professional couples and their families, seems oblivious to the problems of the small city that surrounds it, oblivious to the problems of the larger world, as if the American dream has continued to live on here, smooth and unruffled.

    But the untroubled setting does not match Tom's current state of mind. He cuts the lights and the engine and sits uneasily for a moment in the dark, despising himself.

    Then, with a start, he notices that his wife's car is not in its usual place in the driveway. He automatically checks his watch: 9:20. He wonders if he's forgotten something. Was she going out? He can't remember her mentioning anything, but he's been so busy lately. Maybe she just went out to run an errand and will be back any minute. She's left the lights on; they give the house a welcoming glow.

    He gets out of the car into the summer night–it smells of freshly mown grass–swallowing his disappointment. He wanted, rather fervently, to see his wife. He stands for a moment, his hand on the roof of the car, and looks across the street. Then he grabs his briefcase and suit jacket from the passenger seat and tiredly closes the car door. He walks along the path, up the front steps, and opens the door. Something is wrong. He holds his breath.

    Tom stands completely still in the doorway, his hand resting on the knob. At first he doesn't know what's bothering him. Then he realizes what it is. The door wasn't locked. That in itself isn't unusual-most nights he comes home and opens the door and walks right in, because most nights Karen's home, waiting for him. But she's gone out with her car and forgotten to lock the door. That's very odd for his wife, who's a stickler about locking the doors. He slowly lets out his breath. Maybe she was in a rush and forgot.

    His eyes quickly take in the living room, a serene rectangle of pale gray and white. It's perfectly quiet; there's obviously no one home. She left the lights on, so she must not have gone out for long. Maybe she went to get some milk. There will probably be a note for him. He tosses his keys onto the small table by the front door and heads straight for the kitchen at the back of the house. He's starving. He wonders if she's already eaten or whether she's been waiting for him.

    It's obvious that she's been preparing their supper. A salad is almost finished; she has stopped slicing mid-tomato. He looks at the wooden cutting board, at the tomato and the sharp knife lying beside it. There's pasta on the granite counter, ready to be cooked, a large pot of water on the stainless steel gas stove. The stove is off and the water in the pot is cold;...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 19, 2017
    At the start of this well-plotted if workmanlike thriller from bestseller Lapena (The Couple Next Door), the cops can’t figure out what upstate New York housewife and bookkeeper Karen Krupp was doing in the sketchiest part of town before running a red light and smashing her Honda Civic headfirst into a utility pole—and neither can Karen, who comes to in the hospital with no memory of that night beyond an underlying feeling of dread. But with the discovery of a murdered man just blocks from the scene, bells start to sound for detectives Rasbach and Jennings, setting in motion an investigation that quickly threatens to expose some unsavory secrets beneath the cozy suburban life Karen and her husband of two years, Tom, have constructed for themselves—not to mention the downright creepy activities of the couple’s intrusive neighbor, Brigid, who’s Karen’s putative best friend. Though the characters pack all the emotional heft of the glossy shelter magazines Karen collects, plentiful plot twists—through the final page—make this a diverting page-turner. Agent: Helen Heller, Helen Heller Agency (Canada).

  • Kirkus

    June 15, 2017
    After a terrible car accident, a woman is left without memory of the events, but a dead body at the scene speaks of something sinister.When Karen Krupp crashes her car into a pole after fleeing an abandoned restaurant in a rough part of town in upstate New York, she's left with a bad concussion and no memory of what happened before her accident. Her husband, Tom, doesn't know what to think since she went out without her purse and ID and didn't leave him a note as she usually does, and those are only the first in a string of out-of-character actions for Karen. The shocks keep coming when a dead man is found in the derelict restaurant, shot to death, a pair of distinctive pink rubber gloves left at the scene. Tom is convinced Karen isn't a murderer, but as evidence piles up, he starts to doubt that he ever really knew his wife at all. Karen won't find comfort in her "friend" Brigid Cruikshank, who lives across the street. Poor Brigid hates her marriage to boring Bob, and all she can think about is the hanky-panky she and Tom were up to before he married Karen. Bob is inadequate, but Tom is her dream hubby, and as cracks form in Tom and Karen's marriage, delusional Brigid only sees opportunity. Detectives Rasbach and Jennings smell something fishy and are convinced Karen is hiding something, and as they dig into her past, explosive secrets come to light. Tom is hapless and self-pitying, allowing himself to be manipulated at every turn, and Brigid, at times unintentionally funny, is the quintessential soap-opera villainess--she delights in spying on Tom and Karen through her window while knitting and nursing fantasies about Tom. Readers will guess the obligatory final twist quickly, and Lapena's (The Couple Next Door, 2016, etc.) attempts at creating any sort of suspense are crushed under the weight of predictability. Readers looking for someone, anyone, to root for won't find it among these well-to-do suburbanites behaving badly.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    March 15, 2017
    Lapena wrote award-winning literary fiction, then triumphed with her first thriller, The Couple Next Door. Here, a woman is found injured in a shady part of town. Neither the police nor her husband believes her explanation, and she herself isn't sure what happened.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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